Porter's House

KEN FIDLIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

Joey Porter did something truly dumb this week. But who knew he was that smart?

The last thing a football coach wants to see is one of his players spouting off bulletin-board slurs about the opposition in the days leading up to a game. So, when Porter, a linebacker with the Miami Dolphins, opined that beating the New England Patriots without Tom Brady "shouldn't be that hard," you can be sure coach Tony Sparano wanted to strangle him.

Porter went on to reason that the new Patriots quarterback, Matt Cassel, is basically a backup "who don't get that many snaps, right? So you throw the kitchen sink at him."

And that's exactly what happened, led by Porter, as the Fins pounded on New England 38-13, handing them their first loss after 21 consecutive wins.

What's the old saying? "It ain't bragging if you can do it."

Porter set the tone for the game early when he sacked Cassel as the Pats appeared to be headed for a touchdown with a first and goal at the seven. On the next two plays, Cassel was sacked and threw an interception. Before the half was over, Porter had sacked Cassel again and the Pats were down 21-6.

The most shocking aspect of this game was that a Bill Belichick-coached defence couldn't figure out how to stop a simple direct snap to the halfback. Ronnie Brown scored four touchdowns and threw another TD pass, all using a direct snap.

"I don't know why in the world we couldn't stop that play," said linebacker Rodney Harrison. "They just came in and beat our butts."

And Porter's reaction to being right?

"No big deal," he said. "I just spoke the facts. The guy is no Tom Brady."

CLOSE CALLS

While the Patriots took it on the chin, some other big favourites, most notably the Bills and the Giants, just barely escaped with their perfect records, not to mention their pride, intact.

If you were confused and thought it was Arnold Palmer, not Carson Palmer, quarterbacking the Bengals until yesterday, we understand. But yesterday, Palmer just about pulled off the upset over the defending Super Bowl champion Giants.

Unlike the Patriots, though, the Giants were able to rally after falling behind 13-10 at the half. And maybe, just maybe, if Palmer had managed the clock better in the final minute of regulation, he could have come away with a game-winning touchdown, instead of a game-tying field goal.

In overtime, Eli Manning stepped up and engineered a seven-play, 62-yard drive that ended in John Carney's game-winning field goal.

Meanwhile the Bills pulled off a late comeback to go to 3-0 for the first time since 1992 and in the process of beating Oakland 24-23, they may have sealed Raider coach Lane Kiffin's fate.

Oakland owner Al Davis has been gunning for his head coach's head. Last week's win in Kansas City gave him a brief reprieve but it's hard to imagine Kiffin can escape after this loss.

His team put Buffalo in terrible field position all day and while a lot of Buffalo's problems -- dropped passes, ill-timed penalties -- were self-inflicted, the Raiders probably deserved a better fate.

But, nine points up with five minutes to go is all the reason Davis will need to put Kiffin out of his misery.

GET OUT THE BROOM

Speaking of misery, Kiffin has company in the St. Louis Rams' front office. The Rams proved just the tonic the struggling Seattle Seahawks needed yesterday, winning a 37-13 blowout.

Owner Chip Rosenbloom may be inclined to sweep the whole Rams organization clean, meaning head coach Scott Linehan and general manager Jay Zigmunt, but he may wait a week because of the chaos it will cause.

After the Rams play host to the Bills next weekend, they have a bye week to pick up the pieces of a housecleaning.


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